What You Need To Know About Jeep Upgrades and Resale Value

It was a bit strange to take a look at the 2024 Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards and not see the Jeep Wrangler crack the top 10 this year. Wranglers have been a stalwart of this list for many, many, years along with a slew of Toyotas and Subarus.

Of course, if you look past KBB, you’ll still find the Wrangler commonly mentioned elsewhere as a darling of keeping its value. Just look at some of the used prices of JLs and even JKs, and for the unaware they may seem curiously high.

It makes sense, though – they’re popular, capable, and offer a tremendous amount of aftermarket support. But when it comes time to let a new owner take the keys of your old Wrangler, those aftermarket goodies you indulged in may be more of a curse than a blessing. What you’ve spent thousands of dollars on to make your Jeep more capable and aesthetic, may actually hurt its value.

While Jeeps are meant to be personalized and enjoyed, here are a few things to consider if trade-in or resale value is something you intend to preserve.

Avoid Cheap Lift Kits

This “upgrade” is an easy one to put on the list. While a low-end spacer/block lift may appear to be a cost-effective choice – especially for those that want the look, but don’t necessarily need the performance – there is more to think about here.

A budget kit might be fine in the short term for someone who wants to put a bigger tire size on their rig, but often can lead to problems down the road. A lift of any size will likely throw a wrench in the geometry that Jeep engineers carefully calculated.

Sure, many seasoned off-roaders will offset these changes by upgrading other parts of their suspension. But if you’re just slapping on a cheap lift kit, chances are you’re not replacing other components like ball joints and control arms.  A cheap lift will wear these and other parts out quicker, and can lead to more complicated suspension issues.

So, should you go with a more expensive lift kit? In short, if you have the funds – yes. A more premium suspension will generally do more things right in reference to premium parts and suspension geometry.

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But will a premium lift kit maintain, or even add resale value to your Jeep? Meh, don’t count on it. There may be a few people out there who would do the same thing to their prospective rig as you did to yours – and pay a bit more for it – but the odds aren’t in your favor.

Like we said, Jeeps are personal and anyone looking for a secondhand Jeep, whether they’re a casual or a hardcore Jeeper, would probably rather have a clean slate to work with.

Don’t Go Crazy on the Mods

We get it, you put that first set of rock rails or light bar on your Jeep and something changes inside you. You’ve told your family and friends that’s it with the upgrades, but the virus has already started to slowly spread through your body. Pretty soon, you’ve bestowed your UPS driver with a life of chiropractic visits and your Wrangler doesn’t resemble a Jeep anymore but looks more like your child’s first crack at a diorama.

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We’re not throwing shade. But if there’s one piece of information we want you to take away from this entire article, it’s this:

As cool as you think your Wrangler looks, there’s a good chance the next owner will want to turn it into something completely different. And an OEM Jeep is a better canvas to work with, as there’s infinitely more information on how to uninstall/remove OEM parts than there is on specific aftermarket pieces.

Another invaluable nugget of advice we can give is to hold onto anything that you take off your Jeep that can be reinstalled.

Like we’ve said – and will mention many more times in this article – on the resale market, a stock Jeep has more value than one with a slew of iffy modifications. So, whether it’s a hood, grille, radio, or anything else, we recommend reinstalling the OEM item you took off before reselling. Not only will this return your Jeep closer to stock, but also any aftermarket items you salvage can net you a bit of cash by selling them on the used marketplace.

Sell It Privately

If you want to get the most money for your vehicle, private selling is usually the best option. Of course, going this route does create more work. You’ll have to go through the process of researching value, detailing the vehicle, taking pictures, listing and advertising it, fielding messages, scheduling time to show it to interested parties, going on test drives, handling paperwork, and figuring out payment.

Occasionally, this will all fall into place and you’ll get a respectable offer soon after listing. But many times, people choose to avoid the headache by selling or trading in their vehicle to a dealership.

If you have a heavily-built Jeep, however, a dealer is likely to severely penalize you for aftermarket parts.

Despite what some may say, dealers generally want to stand behind the vehicle they’re selling and often will offer some kind of warranty with used cars they advertise. With a modded Wrangler, however, they don’t know the quality or longevity of the parts, how they were installed, or the competency of the installer. This leads dealers to often remove the items and replace them with something closer to OEM. To cover the cost, they’ll reduce what they offer the seller.

Additionally, a Wrangler that looks like it could survive the apocalypse may seem cool and desirable, but it often throws a red flag to dealers as something that may have been beaten up off-road and pushed to its limits.

In short, just because you have a $1,000 bumper and $1,500 worth of suspension upgrades doesn’t mean you’ll be able to recoup that investment when selling – especially from a dealer. But if you’re able to find a private buyer who has similar tastes, then you can use those upgrades as a selling point to recover a bit of what you spent.

Ultimately, Just Do You

There is one overwhelming counterpoint that many of us with off-road, performance, and work vehicles often use in relation to the aftermarket and resale value – myself included. And it’s worth mentioning after all we’ve said above:

Screw it. It’s my vehicle and I’m going to do with it what I want.

And as long as you keep in mind the day in the (hopefully) distant future when you decide to sell it and you’re OK with what it may mean – as fellow enthusiasts, we salute you.

Check Out BedRug

As we mentioned above, there are very few, if any, upgrades you can make to your Jeep that would increase its resale value. But we do have to mention one thing you can add to the interior of your Jeep that will assist in maintaining its functionality and durability – which will, in turn, help preserve it for resale.

Our friends at BedRug offer a wide variety of interior panels for the Wrangler to ensure maximum waterproofing and protection. Their BedTred/Bedrug Jeep liners are fully custom molded panels that protect your cargo area from damage and are a much more premium offering than the stock Wrangler carpeting. They are easy to install and remove, and require little more than a hose to remove dirt and debris from a weekend camping trip or trail run. They’re also resistant to harsh chemicals, mold, mildew, stains, and stench.

BedRug’s Wrangler Headliner provides the same protection to the interior roof of your Jeep as well. It can be installed without removing the hard-top and the ½” polypropylene really does a number on insulating your interior and blocking external road noise.

For only a couple hundred dollars, BedRug’s line of Wrangler products are a no-brainer if you’re looking to maximize your Jeep’s resistance to moisture, rust, and damage. To learn more about BedRug’s Jeep lineup, head over to https://bedrug.com/